Chief Executive Update 21 December

Well, we made it through, and Christmas is now on our doorstep.


This year will be remembered as a time of uncertainty and complexity as COVID-19 continued to disrupt our lives. But with challenge comes opportunity, and that is where we find ourselves as the new year approaches.

On the cusp of the holiday break, we have uncertainty reigning again with the Omicron variant spreading across multiple states. What business wants next year is a clean run at it so we can start to get going again. We have federal and state elections next year and we know from the past that elections have caused the economy to slow down. We need continued stimulus support as we know there are a lot of businesses on the edge.

The Victorian Chamber is engaging with members to develop a business-first agenda for the 2022 Federal and State Elections. In January, we will be hosting more group discussions involving members to test the priorities we will present to all parties in 2022. This is your opportunity to share your vision for Victoria and I encourage you to visit our website to express your interest in participating. 

We also want the government to ensure we stay out of lockdowns. The best way to do that is to prepare our hospital system with the time we have available now. We’ve seen what is happening across Europe and we can ensure it doesn’t happen here. We need to prepare additional hospital space so that when winter arrives, the flu comes and perhaps another COVID-19 variant emerges, we can cope with case numbers and be safe from lockdowns.

This year we have been inspired by how businesses have adapted to COVID-19 to keep us safe. I am excited to announce the 10 well-deserved finalists of the Victorian COVIDSafe Business Awards. The Chamber pioneered this initiative in partnership with the Victorian Government’s Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions to recognise and celebrate the many businesses that modelled best practices in keeping staff, customers and contractors safe from COVID-19. These finalists are just some of the businesses and leaders who kept people in jobs and have helped Victoria’s economy to roar into recovery. Winners for each category will be announced in early 2022 so stay tuned!

We have learned so much through the past two years and what impressed me most was a spirit of collaboration that was particularly evident throughout the Victoria Summit 2021 process. I am so excited to share the final product with you in February 2022 after 12 months of energising and passionate discussions on how to make Victoria the best place to live, learn, work and operate a business.

As a valued member of the Victorian Chamber, your input this year has never been so important. We have done our best to represent the collective view in our response to governments and I believe the Victorian Chamber voice consistently carried credibility. The State and Federal Governments sought our input, as did the State and Federal Oppositions. We were an important voice because we carried the insight of businesses across all sectors throughout Victoria.

Finally, I want to thank my team at the Victorian Chamber. We have an incredible team and we do our best to serve you each day. From our President Karyn Sobels, Deputy President Adrian Kloeden, Board, Executive Council, and staff, I am very proud and thankful for the efforts everyone at the Victorian Chamber showed in 2021. Rest assured, we will be there for you again next year.

Have a wonderful Christmas for those who celebrate the occasion, and for everyone please enjoy a break. Stay safe, rest up, because I have no doubt 2022 is going to be a big year for Victorian businesses.

If you want a tip on where to spend an afternoon, I was fortunate to visit LUME on Saturday at the wonderful Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. The exhibition is truly wonderful, and the way art is bought to life in a digital sense is very clever. For a few hours I managed to stop and take it in, and really marvel at how the work of the genius Vincent van Gogh has been made even more relevant to the modern generation. It captured many things from the last few years, and it’s an experience that I highly recommend.

Thank you for your membership and your support. I look forward to seeing you again next year.

Take care.


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